Technology has seen significant growth in recent years, thanks to the pressure from ever-changing consumer needs. For instance, many customers today prefer buying their items from online shops rather than visiting the nearest brick-and-mortar store. It’s a trend that has forced most businesses to change their tactics and join the digital world.
Of course, with such changes comes competition. Even the best companies may struggle to make a mark in the online market if they don’t put the right plans in place. Among the main factors to consider in those plans is an information technology (IT). Every successful player in the modern world of business can attribute a significant part of their achievements to excellent IT systems. But what makes a good IT strategy?
What Is an IT Strategy?
Before going deeper into this topic, it’d be prudent to understand the meaning of an IT strategy. The phrase simply refers to a plan created by a business as a guide on how it’ll use its technological know-how and IT assets to create value and meet organizational goals.
This strategy, which is normally presented in a business document, helps clarify the long-term objectives of your business. These long-term goals are then used as the framework for all the actions that your employees will be expected to execute in the short and medium terms.
For instance, a business owner may decide to outsource some of the tasks to an external contractor who’s certified to offer IT services in Dallas. With such a strategy, the employees can focus on more important and company-specific IT projects rather than spending a lot of time on recurring tasks.
Although every enterprise has an IT strategy in place, some of those plans are vague and ineffective in the grand scheme of things. For example, saying your goal is ‘to increase revenue’ is a correct statement in any business environment, but it doesn’t cut it as a master plan. So how should you present your strategy, and what factors must be included? Read on to find out.
1. Clarity And Preciseness
As earlier mentioned, many businesses have failed to meet their desired goals because of vague strategies. The first thing you should keep in mind when creating any IT strategy is its clarity. For one, an unjustified abundance of technology terms would make the document difficult to understand by anyone other than the tech specialists in your company.
Remember: an IT strategy isn’t created only for the IT department but for the whole business community. Therefore, prioritizing clarity will help managers realize the direction that their subordinates should take. Also, there’s always a chance that the IT leadership may change along the way. Having an understandable plan will make it easier for new management to pick up from where their predecessors left off.
Another thing that defines a good IT strategy is its adaptability. There have been a lot of adjustments in the world of business in recent years. Consumer demands, for instance, have seen many changes, and these have affected everything from the way they communicate to their shopping behavior. One thing you should always keep in mind is that those changes won’t stop there.
Therefore, whichever IT strategy you choose should be able to adapt to such demands every time there’s any significant shift of gears. This feature gives you the ability to implement new business decisions within the shortest time possible. As such, you won’t have to go through several adjustment procedures before entering a new market or introducing new products and services.
3. Moderately Future-Oriented
A good IT strategy should be able to balance two elements: daily operations and future orientation. Every task you plan to carry out today should have two objectives. The first one is to improve the current state of operations and enhance productivity, while the other goal should always be to build a foundation for future developments.
One mistake that many IT leaders make is channeling most of their energy to current problems to the point where they forget about the future. As such, they end up dealing with one issue after the other and waste so much time in coming up with new strategies every now and then. With a moderately future-oriented plan, you can be sure of short- and long-term solutions.
Information technology strategies aren’t about winning the innovation race but supporting the needs of your business with IT solutions. So in your plans, make sure you come up with something that fits your needs and adds value to your business rather than just going for the most sophisticated system on the market.
How do you measure the compatibility of an IT strategy? The software and hardware should work fine with your current system. The whole plan should also align with the policies and improve the operations of your business.
5. Should be Cost-Effective
Every business-related strategy should be geared toward reducing operational costs. It’s impossible to come up with a well-oiled plan without looking at the financial side of things.
Though there are numerous opportunities when it comes to IT strategies, it’s important to identify those that are worth your investment. Find one that doesn’t only fit your budget but also helps your business generate more revenue. Doing so will guarantee the highest possible return on investment (ROI) and save you from unprecedented surprises.
6. Should be Divisible into Stages
A good strategy is one that can be implemented piece by piece rather than in one phase. Dividing it into stages gives you more control over the strategy because you can make necessary changes along the way without too much hassle. It also makes it easier for managers to assess performance and make improvements where needed.
Many businesses have IT strategies in place, but not all of them deliver the desired results. As an IT leader, one of your jobs is to make sure that your company has an effective plan on how to utilize its technological know-how and IT assets. For instance, you can decide to choose an IT partner or only work with your internal team.
Whichever plan you decide to go with, make sure it meets your needs. It should be clear and precise, adaptable to any new environment, compatible with the company’s policies, and also cost-effective. Having a strategy that combines all those features guarantees competence and success in the current digital world.
- “Planning an IT Strategy is Vital for Success”, Source: https://medium.com/@suehern/planning-an-it-strategy-is-vital-for-success-e2fe2f5952b7
- “Five Steps To A Better IT Strategy”, Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/peterhigh/2016/11/07/five-steps-to-a-better-it-strategy/?sh=52c4ddbe5d5f
- “How to Write an IT Strategic Plan”, Source: https://www.wikihow.com/Write-an-IT-Strategic-Plan